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Assam Youth March to The Streets to Protest Against CAA and EIA

On Monday, thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Guwahati in a rally demanding the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020.

Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) organised a protest on Monday, demanding the release of of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi, who is currently being probed by the National Investigation Agency, for his alleged role in the anti-CAA protests that shook the nation last year.

Assamese Youth from different groups forming human chains to oppose the CAA and EIA 2020 (pc: India Today)

"We will not stop till the CAA and EIA are repealed. It is also unfortunate how this government has vindictively kept Akhil Gogoi inside jail just to derail the anti-CAA movement," AJYCP's Guwahati unit president Pradip Kalita said, promising the occurrence of future protests.

In Moriagon town, student groups like the All Assam Students' Union and other tribal groups joined the AJYCP and formed a human chain to express their grievances. In Dibrugarh city however, protesters who attempted to form a human chain were detained by the police. Human chains were formed across many cities and towns in various districts, including Dhemaji, Darrang, Nalbari and Biswanath.

"We will not accept the CAA and EIA. We have been protesting against the CAA since 2016, but this government has not listened to us,” said a Protestor to the PTI.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 aims to grant citizenship to non-muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. The CAA’s aim was to include the millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis left out of the National Register of Citizens that was conducted in Assam, but now is applicable to the entire country.

This was a slap in the face of Assamese people, who have been demanding the deportation of immigrants from Bangladesh ever since the partition. The CAA undoes the Assam Accords which granted the Assamese some security by promising strict border security, and citizenship to immigrants only if they had moved to Assam before 1 January 1966. The new CAA sets that date to 31 December 2014, re-igniting the fears of the Assamese tribes that they will become minorities in their own state.

Meanwhile, the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2020 significantly handicaps the ability of tribes and locals to take action against the industrial envelopment of their homes. It also reduces the number of compliance reports an industrial project would have to submit to only one per year, and empowers them by increasing validity of environment clearances for mining and river valley projects.

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